Out of Round

Nov 10th, 2013 | By | Category: GADFLY Open, Spotlight, Sunday Sermon

A time of recovery (left to right) Susan (Jen's mom), Jennifer, and my wife, Linda

A time of recovery: (left to right) Susan (Jen’s mom), Jennifer, and my wife, Linda

No Flap Over the Bone-flap

In the continuing (living it now) story of our 35-year-old daughter, Jennifer, and her recent accident, my wife Linda and I drove back up to San Jose, California, on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Our plan was to be at the hospital for the next-day operation that would replace the piece of skull bone (which the staff refers to as a “bone-flap”) that had been removed by the surgical team that saved her life. As mentioned in another article, the severity of Jen’s head trauma had required the removal of a large piece of her right skull to allow for the swelling in her brain until it could subside.

Once we arrived at the hospital and found her room, we were able to see for ourselves the size of the area in question. Looking directly at Jen’s face, it was obvious that the shape of her head was out of round on the right side. A side glance at her head showed a piece of bone (about as large as a horseshoe) was missing with the arch parallel to the top of her head. Her scalp had a number of metal staples holding the incision and her scalp in place. In other words, Jen has a large “C”-shape incision (resembling a curved zipper) with the legs of the “C” pointing down toward the ground. And while talking with our daughter, there was a visible depression on the right side of her head where the shaped bone-flap was missing. And though she complained often about the severity of her headaches, it seemed miraculous that Jennifer could function so well while missing such a large portion of her skull.

In fact, Jennifer has made such tremendous progress since leaving the ICU on October 30, 2013. Our girl has done so remarkably well that she no longer qualifies for acute aftercare for brain trauma. She is able to walk up and down stairs, swallow water, read, and figure out crossword puzzles with some assistance. Her short-term memory issues are improving as well. While on a cell phone call from her bedside, Jen recalled a conversation three minutes earlier with Linda, and reminded her brother, Cameron, to “take the trash out of Mom and Dad’s bathroom.” The therapists warned us  that Jennifer will still have difficulties recalling words for some objects (which we had observed on a few occasions during our visit) as well as with the general decision-making process. Overall, her prognosis for recovery has been very good. We are grateful to God and all who have prayed for the recovery and healing of our daughter.

After her near-death experience and dramatic recovery, I am convinced more than ever that God has a plan for Jennifer’s life. I confess that I have no idea what that plan may be. In order for His plan to be carried out, certain things must be in place and, of course, Jennifer must also be ready to cooperate (move forward.) So when we learned Wednesday morning that the bone-flap surgery had not been scheduled, there was no flap over the bone-flap at all. Nor did we become suspicious about some surgical skullduggery afoot. We just leaned on God.

When we weren’t visiting with Jen, we made the most our time by speaking with medical staff and to the social workers involved in Jennifer’s care. According to them, because of the nature of the accident and severity of the trauma, Jennifer will need round-the-clock supervision after her release from the hospital. For the time being, and perhaps for the rest of her life, someone else will have to take care of Jennifer and make her decisions for her. In other words, Jen is unable to care for herself any longer.

For now, we await the results of the bone-flap replacement and the prognosis of Jennifer’s recovery from that operation. When the time for her release arrives, we shall be driving back up to San Jose one last time to bring Jennifer home. Her home is where she can be attended to and monitored by family members. Who knew this would end up this way? God did.

Now, more than ever, we need the continued petitions of all who were willing to pray for Jennifer to now pray for our extended family as well. This will be a long journey, both a great and rewarding challenge. All of our lives have been impacted by Jen’s accident, and now her recovery process requires that our family partakes in a very active role in God’s plan for the rest of her life. Your prayers and God’s grace will help our family navigate the uncharted waters ahead.

Thank you, once again, for your fervent prayers on behalf of Jennifer and our family. You have made all the difference in the world and eternity.

Remember always to pray. God is definitely listening.

(copyright 2013, Gregory Allen Doyle)

[Note: About an hour after writing this article, I received word that Jennifer was out of surgery and in recovery. All appeared to go well in replacing the bone-flap.]


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4 Comments to “Out of Round”

  1. Howie Katz says:

    Greg, I know the power of prayer is real.

    I took three container ship cruises on a ship with a captain from Germany, Bert Degenhardt. Bert and I became best friends. He has been in the Philippines, where he will marry Jingjing, his fiance. They are in Alcoy in Cebu province. They were near the epicenter of last month’s devasting earthquake. I prayed that they came through the quake alright, which they did, suffering only a broken bottle of fine liquor and some broken wine glasses and vases. And then they were struck by the super typhoon which has devastated large parts of the country and killed more than 10,000 Filipinos. I prayed to God that Bert and Jingjing survived the storm. Last night Bert emailed me that they were OK. The island of Bohol, were the quake’s epcicnter was, is east of Alcoy and acted as a barrier to prtect them from the storm surge. Although Cebu City, which is only a little over an hour’s drive from Alcoy, suffered extensive damage, Bert and Jingjing escaped without any damages when the storm hit them. God had answered my prayers.

    As for Jennifer, it is obvious that God also answered everyone’s prayers. It is good to see she is doing so much better. And, of course, Jennifer and your family will continue to be in my prayers. But my biggest prayer will be that Jennifer’s prognosis is wrong, and that she will make the kind of recovery that will enable her to take care of herself. God bless!

    • Gadfly says:

      Thank you, Howie. We know that doctors (although very skilled and knowledgeable) are not God. Our prayers are in agreement with yours that Jen will be able to function on her own. We cherish your prayers.

  2. Bob Walsh says:

    I am glad she is doing well after this very serious situation. As an added bonus, you now have a focus for a bunch of “swelled head” and “Dr. Frankenstien” jokes, which should be relatively safe as she has improved so much. People with good attitudes, good family support and who are in otherwise good health can make truly remarkable recovery from head trauma.